As part of the 'Play Me, I'm Yours' initiative, 75 pianos have been set up around the Cambridge and Boston area and the weather has been perfect for a little al fresco busking on the way to and from school. It's a joy to have fragments of piano music drifting down the street and I love the elements of surprise in what people elect to play: at the weekend I saw a teenager with bright purple hair perform an incredible Bach piece while an elderly lady in Harvard Square bashed out a great bit of honky-tonk to the whoops of admiration from her friends.
This weekend was also the New England Americana Festival in Harvard Square. The timing was perfect: Iola had a sleepover with a friend (apparently, first is worst, second is best, third is the one with the hairy chest... and so, Iola solemnly announced beforehand, this would be her friend's best sleepover ever whereas it would have a hairy chest for her!). Maya is old enough to come out with us in the evening, so we all headed out to Club Passim. It was a wonderfully eclectic mix of ukuleles, banjos and the amazing Roy Sludge (we've been singing 'Back the Truck Up' ever since!)
On Saturday, Maya took part in a cook-off competition - part of the City Sprouts scheme of which she had been an intern through the summer. Again, the weather was perfect, a local band were playing music, and local dignitaries evaluated the cooking. Cambridge is a great place to be a child: these kind of events seem to always be well-attended, the judges took their jobs seriously, and every child had something to celebrate (although, philosophically, I have some concerns that the children here have no opportunity to experience even minor defeats).
And then I went out in the dark.
I have always assumed that night-time has the opacity of mist. It doesn't - and that probably comes as no surprise to anyone reading this, because it was certainly of no surprise to poor Nathan who spent Saturday night being the audience to my wonder:
'Nathan, I can see the shapes of the cars behind their headlights! The buildings have edges! The lights don't have blurred halos around them! People have faces!!!'
The plan had been to walk over the river into Boston and enjoy a quiet drink in one of the pubs in Beacon Hill. In the end, we just walked and walked and walked. I was ecstatic about everything I could see and Nathan looking longingly into the windows of the bars and the restaurants we walked past. I know he was looking longingly, because I could see his face!